I wish the Yiga clan weren’t such stupid geese in Tears of the Kingdom

I like a good villain. The heroes save the day, but the antagonists are often the ones who drive the plot forward. As Link and Zelda react to Ganon’s plots, he goes on a rampage unleashing things like Calamity and Upheaval. But having the same big bad gets a bit stale, and Ganondorf is truly the most prolific boss in all of Zelda games, only occasionally giving ground to a secondary antagonist, like Zant.

Which is a shame, because I like a bit of variety in my villains. There is a great untapped source of boss fights in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild And tears of the kingdombut they never really shine.

[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.]

The Yiga clan first appears in breath of the wild, posing as ordinary travelers on the road, only to reveal themselves in assassination attempts. They appear in the background throughout BotW, attempting to assassinate Link and Zelda and taking advantage of an informant in Kakariko Village. Link later infiltrates their HQ and defeats Master Kohga, their leader, sending him plummeting into a pit in a foreshadowing-laden cutscene. Kohga isn’t exactly a worthy foe; you just interrupt his Sheikah Slate throws and bonk him on his stupid little noggin.

Link battles a Yiga Blademaster in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

After dispatching Kohga, Yiga agents will randomly show up in the overworld in an attempt to exact revenge, but we don’t learn too much about them otherwise. So when I found my first Yiga outpost in tears of the kingdom, I was beyond the psyche. The idea of ​​a dissident Sheikah ideology, opposed to our heroes but using the same powerful tools, is fascinating. There is a lot to explore there.

At first, it looked like the Yiga Clan might have lived up to my exorbitant expectations. I found their colonies in the Deep, guarded by Ultrahand machines. I found notes suggesting that Kohga had somehow survived, and started tracking him down. The depths add gravity to the proceedings, and I was eager to see the new Kohga, shaped by his defeat and the darkness that surrounded him.

There are definitely more Yiga Clan members in this game, and it’s cool to see how they’ve built up their defenses. But while chasing Kohga, I finally learned… that he works for Ganondorf all the time, and besides, he’s still a big clumsy goose. There’s more of a prep for the boss fight, but I use his Ultrahand tools against him again, then launch him out of the depths with all the grace of a Team Rocket jerk.

For what it’s worth, I appreciate the Yiga content we have. I like this clan and their focus on stealth rather than strength. Just like in breath of the wildYiga’s assassins continually show up trying to get revenge, and I often use their weapons and cosmetics.

A damaged Link fighting Master Kohga on a vehicle in an arena

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

But I also can’t help but think of a hypothetical Yiga clan that might have been, a clan where it wouldn’t be a series of miniboss encounters and bits of slapstick comedy. What were the circumstances of their initial break with the Sheikah? What do they think of Hyrule’s use of this technology? What do they get out of a partnership with Ganondorf?

Oddly, the secondary game Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity addresses this with the character of Sooga, Kohga’s right-hand man. We see that Sooga was rescued as a child, so he is deeply loyal to Kohga. He’s a badass in his own right, and he even ends up joining the roster of playable characters. But Age of Calamity isn’t canon, and so Sooga is just a tantalizing possibility of what could have been.

Don’t get me wrong – Ganondorf is a good villain, and I’m not saying he needs to be kicked out or anything. But the Zelda franchise could use a few new antagonists to shake things up and add variety to the franchise. Hyrule has changed drastically between breath of the wild And tears of the kingdom, and I would have liked the Yiga clan to change more in turn. Maybe in the next game they will finally create a real sense of fear in me. I hope, at the very least, that I don’t have to dunk on Master Kohga anytime soon.

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